Thursday, March 27, 2014

Does Common Core Repeal Stop Students From Participating in FFA and Prevent ACT/SAT/AP Testing?



I am not  an HB3399 apologist - the bill needs some changes and additions to be a workable solution for teachers (at least) from my perspective - but I also know Governor Fallin is Chairman of the NGA (one of the organizations that owns the copyright for the standards) and an obvious true believer in the Common Core and nationalized education.  I don't see her throwing herself and her NGA agenda under the bus, so I don't know where that leaves those of us that disagree with the Common Core and the hydra it's become within state law, school code and testing contracts.

Still and all, I am sick to death of the hysteria (LOVE that picture of the FFA kids, that look so sad as if their state government is set to rip away their beautiful blue jackets) the Daily Oklahoman continues to pump out about a Common Core repeal (Common Core Bills Impact Many Other Programs).  The FFA thing is simply nonsense.  The FFA is a chartered entity - not a federal entity.  I see no way HB3399 would harm the FFA.  Here is the public law on FFA, please read it yourself.  

All officers are members of a CORPORATION, not federal employees.  From the law:  (2) The board consists of the Secretary of Education, four staff members in the Department of education and, four State supervisors of agriculture education.  The Secretary is chairman of the board.  As said in the article, "Significant standards, assessments, and in some cases curriculum are dictated from the National FFA Organization".  So?  These are not state 'subject matter standards', they are standards specific to the program of FFA and as such would fall outside of the state 'subject matter standards' purview.  There is nothing in HB3399 that prevents any school or district from making ADDITIONS to the state standards.

Quite apparently, the editorial staff has simply overlooked the wonderful research engine that is the World Wide Web.  If you (Daily Oklahoman) believe this analysis to be incorrect, please feel free to educate us with FACTS, not mere speculation (likely, may, ).

I also read nothing in the bill that should lead anyone to the conclusion that ACT or SAT or AP testing will be prohibited.  Please, read the bill - you can find it here.

Page 19 line 1 begins, 
"The State Board of Education shall not enter into any agreement, memorandum of understanding or contract with any federal agency or private entity which in any way cedes or limits state discretion or control over the process of development, adoption or revision of subject matter standards and corresponding student assessments in the public school system, including, but not limited to, agreements, memoranda of understanding and contracts in exchange for funding for public schools and programs."  
Do the SAT, ACT or AP tests 'cede or limit state discretion or control' over 'subject matter standards'?  They have nothing to do with 'subject matter standards' (ie; any standards used for k-12 education).  Are SAT, ACT or AP tests related directly to the current "subject matter standards"?  No. They are independent general knowledge tests - becoming aligned to the Common Core, that's true - but they are not tests that correspond directly to the state standards.  Please, Daily Oklahoman, point to the place in this bill that identifies the evil plot to make Oklahoma's students stop taking nationally/internationally benchmarked tests?

I feel the need to point out here that Robert Sommers isn't from Oklahoma, he's from Ohio where he was an education policy adviser to Governor Kasich that helped institutionalize all the education 'reforms' we're institutionalizing here in Oklahoma.  He also worked  for a Charter School (Carpe Diem) that has ties to Jeb Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education - an organization that has spawned Chiefs For Change.  Janet Barresi is a Chief For Change.  

In fact, more and more of the upper management positions in the OSDE are becoming simply arms of the Common Core machine - John Kraman, the Student Information Officer (chief data gatherer on students) comes from Achieve, the newest Superintendent over TESTING comes from PEARSON.  Oklahoma has no people skilled enough for these jobs - people that might desire to keep the best interests of Oklahomans in mind?

It seems to me that this entire Education 'Reform' pile of nonsense, is exactly that.  It's not about what's best for students or parents or teachers, it's about what's best for the careers of those involved in the never-ending, revolving door, money-making scheme, Bill Gates grant-receiving, echo chamber that is COMMON CORE.  It has to be, or the Chamber of Commerce would not misrepresent data to push the Common Core and Stand For Children wouldn't present a petition of 7000 names claiming to be FOR the Common Core to the State legislature that appears to be fraudulent. Why does the Pro-Common Core side need to misrepresent itself to press their side of the issue?  It's an important question to ask.

NOTE:  When you read an editorial in the Daily Oklahoman about Common Core, please remember that one of their editorial writers is Ray Carter, husband of Jennifer Carter, former Chief of Staff to the State Superintendent Janet Barresi (http://www.koco.com/Barresi-s-Chief-Of-Staff-Issues-Statement-Regarding-Tweet/10738470). I believe this to be a conflict of interest. Certainly, as the DO mentioned in another Common Core repeal hit piece recently, Stand For Children has met with their editorial board. Restore Oklahoma Public Education has NEVER been asked to meet with their editorial board. I think that says quite a bit as well. (Ray Carter Editorial Writer rcarter@opubco.com ) http://newsok.com/home/nic